Corporate Learning

How an Internal Talent Marketplace Creates Workforce Resilience


It’s not always useful or efficient to wait for candidates to emerge from the external talent pool when you have positions that need to be filled. In larger organisations in particular, it can be more economical to enable internal mobility among your employees instead. 

This is where the internal talent marketplace comes in. It’s an important tool to understanding skills data and growth opportunities within your organisation. 

In this article we’ll dive into the benefits of talent marketplaces and how enabling technology like talent marketplace platforms can assist in creating agile talent mobility.


What is an internal talent marketplace?  

An internal talent marketplace is a two-way HR technology platform driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that matches internal candidates with jobs, projects and hiring managers. Connections are formed based on interests, skills and preferences that employees add to the system.

Why do you need an internal talent marketplace?

Internal talent marketplaces are part of workforce planning activities that focus on talent management and career development, driven by employees themselves.

Only around 20% of employees feel they can both meet their career goals where they’re currently employed and have the support of their organisation to do so. It goes without saying that in search of professional development and better career opportunities, employees will start looking elsewhere if they don’t have it in their current role. This is costly financially and time-wise for both the employee and your organisation, who will have to spend to find a suitable replacement.  

Internal talent marketplaces can help lower this risk in several ways.

Note: Human capital management becomes a more complicated endeavour as businesses grow, which is why internal marketplaces are most useful for large organisations of at least 2000 employees

Internal talent marketplaces provide you with the security of knowing you’ll have talent ready to take on senior positions in the face of cultural changes in the workforce or changes in the industry as a whole. 

How do you build a talent marketplace?  

There are four steps to building an internal talent marketplace for your organisation. 

Step 1: Define your goals 

The first step to building your internal marketplace is to define what you actually want to get out of it, and what’s in it for the business. To determine what your goals are, ask the following questions: 

Every decision you make during the talent marketplace building process needs to answer at least one of these questions along the way. If you can’t back up your decisions with evidence of how it fulfils any of these questions, then you aren’t meeting your defined goals. 

Step 2: Gain buy-in 

Now you need to get the support of stakeholders, from human resources to managers and employees. For many, the importance of developing a company’s internal talent marketplace is unclear to them. It’s your job to ensure the business-wide benefits are understood by all parties. 

There are four steps to building a business case to gain buy-in from your relevant stakeholders. 

  1. Define the business need. This could refer to cost effectiveness, employee engagement, or other benefits to your business. 
  2. Clearly state what the problem is. This way, stakeholders will understand the issue needing a solution. 
  3. Explain your solution. Outline how your solution solves the problem. 
  4. Sell the vision. Make sure your stakeholders understand why your solution is the right one and ensure they’re on board. 

If you don’t get the necessary buy-in, you’ll find a lack of employee engagement. You can bolster support with focus groups, showcases, success stories, or even by involving parties with the design and development process of the talent marketplace. 

Step 3: Implement technology 

Implementation of your internal talent marketplace is the biggest step because it happens in three parts: 

  1. Choosing a vendor 
  2. Building a solution 
  3. Implementing your solution. 

Choosing a vendor 

In this first stage, you must choose your talent marketplace platform. Some organisations will choose to create their own processes and platform themselves if they have the capacity to do so, but most companies prefer to look to an external vendor with an HR technology solution to do the heavy lifting for you. 

Many vendors’ platforms make use of AI in connecting employees’ skills with jobs and career pathways. A good system will be customisable for your company’s needs and will contain a strong and navigable interface.  

At Acorn, we’ve created the first performance learning management system (PLMS) to help in this. It’s a dynamic, AI-powered platform for codifying and operationalising the capabilities that drive organisational efficiency and business performance, helping organisations attain peak performance by empowering their people with the information to reach their full potential as impact players.

Choosing project owners 

Once you’ve chosen your vendor, you need to build a team within your organisation who will be responsible for the implementation and continuous use of the system. These are the people who will have ultimate control over the system, as well as the people who will utilise the systems’ findings to connect employees to the career paths outlined. 

These parties need to be able to deliver on the goals and elements of your talent marketplace. 

Implementing your solution 

This is a significant change management endeavour, and, as such, can be overwhelming. It’s up to you whether you release your solution to the organisation all at once or stagger the release of smaller components to allow your workforce to learn each component of your solution without distraction. The second option can be useful in an organisation that is working on developing talent and supporting career mobility for the first time, as there will be little employee experience with the process. 

At this point, you should be ensuring that the individuals and parties you’ve involved in developing your solution are still on board and are providing support for employees, as well as gathering feedback on the rollout. This information will be invaluable for optimising talent marketplace platforms for future use. 

Step 4: Optimise and evaluate 

Once you’ve implemented your internal talent marketplace software, it’s time for you to evaluate the effectiveness of the system. 

Consider the benefit your company’s talent marketplace system has had on your organisation (think retention, employee performance and engagement, improvement to business process), but also the setbacks or shortcomings you’ve found in your solution and its implementation. Reflecting on your process allows you to improve upon past mistakes as you go, building a stronger talent marketplace platform for your employees’ continuous transformation. 

Part of this reflection is to build a sustainability plan. You need to continue to evaluate your talent marketplace for growth opportunities and optimise accordingly. This way, your organisation will be ready to find the right internal candidate no matter the changes that come about, whether it be cultural change in your workplace or wider change in the industry.

Key takeaways 

For large companies, an internal talent marketplace is a useful tool to develop talent rather than spend on external talent acquisition. It’s a workforce planning activity that optimises the use of capabilities for business success and cultivates an agile workforce.

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